Class and Denial in Grassroots America

Let’s get something straight…the Deep State (aka: the capitalist class) is global and multiracial. It’s not “white,” or even just American.

U.S. businesses cannot survive without Saudi oil; the Saudi elite cannot maintain their wealth, wars and authoritarian state without U.S. weapons and military assistance; the Israeli elite cannot keep up their Occupation and thriving arms exporting business without U.S. tax dollars; Japanese billionaires depend on the U.S. as a major trade and investment partner; Latin American right-wing authoritarian regimes need U.S. investors as much as those investors need an outlet for their billions; African business and political elite are begging for more U.S. trade and investment. And on and on.

The “diversity” among the global capitalist elite is vast, but there is one thing they all have in common: They need raw materials and a cheap work force to assure profits. That means they depend on war and exploitation for their very survival.

Capitalist elites may not all like one another or agree on every issue, but they know how to close ranks to protect their common interests when threatened. They don’t take their eyes off the prize, they think long-term, and they don’t get distracted by wedge issues. That’s how they’ve survived and thrived.

And the masses? There is one thing the masses in this global system have in common: They are all exploited either in war or business. Yet, unlike their rulers, they can’t seem to get beyond wedge issues. They rarely focus on the elite as a class – preferring instead to wallow in the cult of personality and obsess on the figurehead. They rarely think long-term, instead rushing hysterically from one election to the next, hoping for “change” without even defining what “change” means under capitalism. And they rarely move beyond wedge issues (which the ruling class seems to have a never-ending supply of). Whether it’s racism, sexism, transphobia, marriage equality, abortion, bathrooms or genders in the military, the masses always seem to be missing by a mile the class nature of their exploitation.

It’s not as though the elites’ divide-and-conquer tactics are new, but each generation forgets how the previous generation was duped and played.

In fact, not only do the masses ignore class exploitation, preferring instead to talk about the unique “oppression” of their own specific groups, but they have singled out the working class on which to project all the sins of capitalism. So, when Margaret Kimberley, for example, says that, in 2016 white Americans “put whiteness first” when they voted for Trump, she is ignoring the centuries of killings and beatings workers endured under their bosses; she is ignoring the decades of betrayal by the Democrats; and she is ignoring the fact that the working class, like the liberals who delusionally voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, voted for Trump with the hope that he would deliver jobs and stop the regime change wars.

How convenient to shift the blame for exploitation onto the victims. Too many liberals are ignorant of the economic and anti-war basis for much of Trump’s victory within the working class. It’s cheap, lazy and dirty to simply tar the entire working class with the “racism” word. It takes a lot more guts to actually analyze their plight.

Janet Contursi is a freelance writer and political activist in Minneapolis. She can be reached at Read other articles by Janet.